Assigning names to generations is nothing new. Look at the list below to see where you fit in.
This generation was made famous by expatriots like Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. At home, young people were disillusioned by the large number of casualties of the First World War. Members of this generation were accused of being cynical and disdainful of their parents’ Victorian notions of morality. Still in the midst of defining what it meant to be American, many members of the Lost Generation felt culturally inferior to Europeans. It was during this period, however, that American musicians and writers started to produce some of the greatest works in history.
Also called the Greatest Generation, these folks fought World War II and came home to raise the first kids of the Baby Boomer Generation. Members of the Greatest Generation were known as team players who had trust in the government. They were among the first to create suburbs and they also helped to create a thriving (white) middle class in America. Members of this generation include John Wayne, Ted Williams and Katherine Hepburn.
This generation, born out of the depression, inherited the unprecedented power fought for and won by previous generations. They did so cautiously and without patting themselves on the back. Members of the Silent Generation would be the bosses of Baby Boomers at work. Their America would become defined, in part, by civil rights issues and by the Truman Doctrine. Marilyn Monroe, Johnny Carson and John Lennon were all members of the Silent Generation.
Their parents could afford more kids because of the G.I. Bill and America’s expanding economy. Baby Boomers were the first members of a generation to be raised on television. On the tube, they watched black-and-white programs like “Leave it to Beaver” and later watched footage from the frontlines of Vietnam and riot scenes on American streets. They saw the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. They watched moon shots and some of them went to Woodstock. They listened to rock music and promoted equal rights for women. Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton are among the legions of Baby Boomers.
Overshadowed and somewhat overwhelmed by the massive Baby Boomer Generation, Gen-Xers are often seen as cynical, brooding types who have dealt with their fare share of divorces and dysfunctional families. Members of Generation X have often been classified as “slackers” who are overeducated and tend to work at “McJobs.” For these folks, AIDS replaced nuclear annihilation as the most pressing threat to humanity. They were the first to be turned on by heavy metal (and later grunge), cable television and personal computers. Kurt Cobain and the cast of “Friends” are all Gen-Xers.
See what your fellow alumni told the UMR Magazine about their generations.